Monthly Archives: July 2011

Why union busters will ultimately fail

Supervalu executives reportedly refused to meet with the workers and filed a civil lawsuit July 18 requesting damages against the small nonprofit workers center that supported the action: Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha (CTUL).

via Giant Supervalu Grocery Chain Sues Small Workers Center – Working In These Times.

No matter what they do they won’t be able to stop workers from organizing somehow. You can hire Jackson Lewis and others to bust up unions and fight NLRB recognition votes. You can block the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. You can seek to limit political spending by unions. You can hate unions all you want but know this–workers will find a way to organize and take collective, direct action when needed. Whether it is through worker centers or other groups. So there.

What is Wall Street doing to help the economy? Nothing.

“The debt ceiling is out of the way, but the current picture is far from rosy,” said Ajay Rajadhyaksha, head of United States fixed-income and securitized strategy at Barclays Capital. “Economic growth is so much weaker than many people thought just six months ago, and we are heading into a period of austerity.”

via Optimism on Wall St. Tempered by Hurdles Ahead –

Sure they are worried about economic growth. Wall Street is sitting on tons of money after being bailed out. Corporations in general are sitting on a lot of money after making a good deal of profits. So what are they doing to help the economy?

DOJ to invesitage Wells Fargo over discriminatory lending

The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating allegations that Wells Fargo discriminated against African American borrowers, according to news reports. The allegations assert that the bank directed African-American borrowers to high-interest, subprime mortgages.

via Report: Wells Fargo investigated over allegations of discriminatory lending.

I’ve heard stories like this over the past three years or so about banks in general not just Wells Fargo. Imagine steering people who could qualify for your regular loan products into subprime mortgages because of their race. Before they would not even lend to you–until the Community Reinvestment Act was passed. Now they lend you into financial distress.

Now there are some conservatives who want to blame the CRA for the financial meltdown we’ve been enduring since the housing bubble popped in 2007. Shame on them! As if the banks had no discretion and had to make bad loan decisions. The banks willfully set out to make a killing on these subprime mortgages by then turning them into securities.

Scott Walker is upset and I am glad

The recall primary and general election results have shaken the confidence of Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans — so much so that the governor was on right-wing talk radio last week decrying his critics as “almost anarchists.”

via Teamster Nation: WI RECALL: Is Walker losing it?.

Did Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans actually think they were untouchable? Please tell me they seriously did not think that after ramming through draconian anti-union legislation that they’d be safe. When the recall cometh even the Madison strangler Justice Prosser will not be able to help them. Scott Walker might have to leave the state once this is all said and done.

Why an independent press is so important

From the pages of history and the beginning of the atomic age comes a story of why journalism is so important. In The Woman Who Knew Too Much: Alice Stewart and the Secrets of Radiation by Gayle Greene we learn about the audacity of industry and government to cover-up the truth.

When Tokyo Radio announced that people who entered the cities after the explosion were dying of mysterious causes, American officials dismissed the allegations as propaganda intended to imply that the United States had used an inhumane weapon.

Well what is a nuclear weapon if not inhumane? How is a nuclear bomb different from anthrax or mustard gas?

General Leslie Groves, who had headed the Manhattan Project, ordered a team of Manhattan Project doctors and technicians in, with the mission of proving “there was no radioactivity from the bomb.” The first scientists and doctors allowed into the cities, in late 1945, were with the U.S. Armed Forces. Most journalists also entered the cities under U.S. military escort and similarly concluded that tales of radiation poisoning were groundless.”

Even the NY Times was on the bandwagon with a headline that said “No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin.” This reminds me of the time when the Bush administration sent inspectors into Iraq to prove that there were weapons of mass destruction.

As for as Hiroshima goes it took an independent journalist unescorted by military personnel to get the truth. The reporter’s name was Wilfred Burchett who found people in hospitals whose hair fell out along with bluish spots appearing on their bodies. There was also bleeding from the ears, nose and mouth and they were dying at the rate of one hundred people a day. Burchett’s piece the Atomic Plague can be found here.

On the Wikipedia page for Burchett I found an interesting quesiton that is posed in a documentary of the journalist by filmaker David Bradbury and that is, “can a democracy tolerate opinions it considers subversive to its national interest? How far can freedom of the press be extended in wartime?”

With all that is covered here does the national interest really reflect what is best for the people? What is the national interest? Is it a point of view that is foisted upon people and whipped up by propagandists? The only way to ensure the opinions of the people are fully informed is to have unfettered democracy. We must allow differences of opinion no matter how much we may not agree with some of them. Lastly, we need a press that is independent and not consolidated.

The State Department’s Folly

This isn’t an idle concern or a typical bureaucratic tussle. The State Department has hired private security for its diplomats in war zones for the better part of a decade. Poor control of them caused one of the biggest debacles of the Iraq war: the September 2007 shooting incident in Nisour Square, where Blackwater guards killed 17 Iraqi civilians. Now roughly double those guards from the forces on duty now, and you’ll understand the scope of what State is planning once the U.S. military withdraws from Iraq at the end of this year.

via Exclusive: U.S. Blocks Oversight of Its Mercenary Army in Iraq | Danger Room |

After all the media attention that Xe aka Blackwater has received for their transgressions, you would think that State would want to do things by the book. Yet they are keeping their Inspector General for reconstruction in the dark. Why? There are 5,500 private contractors in Iraq right now and you’re telling me that there is no oversight? They want to keep the whole thing secret?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his public school problem

Emanuel, who was in New York for an Obama fundraiser when the news broke, has maintained that where the couple send their children to school is a personal, not a political, decision. But the choice led inevitably to criticism that city leaders who send their children to private schools have no personal stake in Chicago’s public schools.

via Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Says No Thanks to Public Schools for His Children | Common Dreams.

You know I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting to send his children to a private school. However, he should at least admit the reason why he wouldn’t have sent them to a public school in the first place.

I think Chicago if not the entire nation would benefit from hearing what someone as high profile as Mayor Emanuel would have to say about this. Clearly there is something wrong with the public education system for the mayor not to want to send his children there. So admit what is wrong and then work with others to remedy the problems.

Bath & Body Works disrupting your hormones

Health and environmental groups have mounted a campaign against Bath & Body Works, urging the retailer to stop selling its line of “Summertime Scent” soaps that contain triclosan, a chemical categorized as a pesticide. Scientific studies have linked triclosan to hormone disruption, which could be hazardous to teenagers whose bodies are still developing.

via Is Bath & Body Works new soap harmful to teens? — Commercial Alert.

Hopefully they will get the message and stop selling the soap. They haven’t issued an official response and I sure hope they don’t try to spin the soap as it were.

Criminal investigation of a Hyatt hotel needed

Union workers say someone turned on the heat lamps in blazing hot broad daylight Thursday, as they walked a picket line in front of the Park Hyatt Hotel.

via Workers: Heat Lamps Shined On Hyatt Hotel Picket Line « CBS Chicago.

Sure, the Hyatt corporation loves being sponsors of movies like Morgan Spurlock’s film The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. They want to get their brand out there and show that they pull out all the stops for their customers. In this brandchannel piece Hyatt’s communications director talks a good game but the brand doesn’t live up to the spiel.

Now we have hotel management turning on heat lamps to cook striking workers. With this dangerous heat wave the nation is experiencing these actions are criminal. The police should investigate and bring whoever is responsible for issuing the order to justice.

Alabama today’s worst state in the union – not the confederacy

Despite fire-and-brimstone opposition to taxes among many in a state that still has “Heart of Dixie” on its license plates, officials never stopped collecting a property tax that once funded the Alabama Confederate Soldiers Home, which closed 72 years ago. The tax now pays for Confederate Memorial Park, which sits on the same 102-acre tract where elderly veterans used to stroll.

via News from The Associated Press.

How sad is that? The anti-tax southern stronghold is still making people pay a tax for confederate soldiers who don’t exist anymore!